NGO Monitor warns against wave of Ultra-Orthodox “Lawfare”
The headline is, of course, sarcastic. Gerald Steinberg’s interest in “Lawfare” is instrumental and limited to his campaign to suppress the Israeli human rights community.
Otherwise, why would reports on right-wing Israeli organizations whose activism is focused on legal activism be so conspicuously absent from his organization’s website? Try finding even an acknowledgement of the “Lawfare” activities of Shurat Hadin — Israel Law Center, The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, The National Land Protection Trust or Human Rights in Yesha and you’ll come up empty handed.
Therefore, any expectation that NGO Monitor will have something to say about this remarkable reaction to the current High Court-Ultra Orthodox crisis is pure fantasy:
The large Haredi [Ultra-Orthodox] community in Strasbourg, France, where Slonim Hasidim also live, is expected to bring a lawsuit, as is the Haredi community of Antwerp, Belgium. According to Salzman, the Haredim of Antwerp are now drafting a lawsuit against the State of Israel which they intend to bring in the international court in The Hague (Maariv, June 20, full translated text at bottom.)
Steinberg’s base hypocrisy — he’s even launched his own major “Lawfare” action in a European court — would be comic if it wasn’t so dangerous. Influential publications such as The New York Jewish Week regularly turn to him as a commentator on Israeli policy. More importantly, draconian legislation he designed to severely limit the freedom of action of any NGO that does not toe government policy is set to be enacted by the Knesset.
Amihai Attali and Yuval Goren, Maariv June 20 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
The Slonim Hasids intend to “export” their struggle against the State of Israel abroad by bringing lawsuits in courts throughout the world against what they term “persecution and the violation of human rights on religious grounds in Israel,” Rabbi Pinhas Salzman, a major figure in the community, has told Ma’ariv.
According to Salzman, several high-ranking figures in the Haredi community abroad recently contacted the members of the community with offers to aid their struggle. The Satmar Hasidim in New York announced that it would ask the New York municipality for permission to hold a rally in front of the United Nations to protest “the persecution of religious Jews” by the secular authorities in the State of Israel.
In addition, the large Haredi community in Strasbourg, France, where Slonim Hasidim also live, is expected to bring a lawsuit, as is the Haredi community of Antwerp, Belgium. According to Salzman, the Haredim of Antwerp are now drafting a lawsuit against the State of Israel which they intend to bring in the international court in The Hague.
“The ruling of the High Court of Justice against the Slonim Hasidim raises tough questions connected to human rights, freedom of religion and conscience and the freedom to choose a school,” Haredi attorney Mordechai Green, who represents the Slonim Hasidim, claimed last night. “We believe that the hasidic community has a strong international legal case against the State of Israel on the grounds of the Supreme Court’s ruling.”
It also turned out that until the beginning of the Sabbath two days ago, the leaders of the Hasidic community prevented officials of the Welfare Authority from going to the 22 mothers who did not show up at the prison and their children. Later on, the members of the special task force that the Welfare Authority established for this purpose, which is directed by the ministry’s deputy director general, Menahem Wagschal, recounted that some of the family members and relatives of the imprisoned parents gave misleading information regarding the whereabouts and the situation of the women and children.
Among other things, the Hasidim allowed the women and children to return to their homes only shortly before the Sabbath began, thus preventing any possibility of their arrest. “They pulled quite a few tricks on us in order to keep us from knowing where each mother and child was, and we could not visit them,” said Wagschal. “On the other hand, they conveyed a clear message that each child and mother was in good hands.”